Artist: Paul & Linda McCartney
Composer: Paul McCartney
Track Time: 4:06
Producers: Paul & Linda McCartney
Engineers: Tim, Ted, Phil, Dixson, Armin and Jim
Paul McCartney: Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Linda McCartney: Vocals
Dave Spinoza: Guitars
Hugh McCracken: Guitars
Denny Seiwell: Drums
"Too Many People" is a song by Paul McCartney from his 1971 album Ram as well as the B-side of the "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" single.
Like most of Ram, "Too Many People" was recorded in New York's CBS studios with then-session guitarist Hugh McCracken. Not much has been said about its recording, other than the fact that Paul recorded his vocals in one take.
Several indie rock bands have covered "Too Many People", including Earlimart, the Finn Brothers, and the Arcangels, but it remains a hidden treasure in the McCartney catalog. However, Paul has shown some love to the song, most notably combining it with "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" on his 2005 U.S. tour, and subsequently the Space Within Us DVD.
Unfortunately, with "Too Many People" comes some controversy, as Paul himself admitted that some of the song's lyrics were about former bandmate John Lennon. The line "Too many people preaching practices" referred to Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono's orchestrated anti-war publicity stunts, whereas "You took your lucky break and broke it in two" calls him out as the member of the group who broke up the Beatles. Still, others allege that much more of the song, as well as the Ram album itself, was a calculated slam at Lennon. Lennon himself certainly seemed to think so, mocking McCartney on his track, "How Do You Sleep?" Despite all of this resentment, they remained friends, with the two frequently making plans to record together again.
The song is one of several instances of "musical sniping" among the four Beatles after the band broke up, the target in this case presumed to be McCartney's former bandmate and songwriting partner John Lennon. "[John had] been doing a lot of preaching, and it got up my nose a little bit," said McCartney in a 1984 interview with Playboy. "I wrote, 'Too many people preaching practices,' I think is the line. I mean, that was a little dig at John and Yoko...there was 'You took your lucky break and broke it in two.'" Other songs in this mold include McCartney's "3 Legs", Ringo Starr's "Early 1970", George Harrison's "Wah-Wah", and Lennon's "How Do You Sleep?", the latter being an explicit response to "Too Many People."
This song alludes to John Lennon's "lucky break" - meaning The Beatles, and how he subsequently "broke it in two." It also takes barbs at John and Yoko's self-images as important political figures. Lennon retorted with a fiery condemnation of Paul on the album Imagine in a track called "How Do You Sleep?" in which Lennon says, "The only thing you've done was yesterday, and since you've gone you're just another day." This references the song "Yesterday," and a post-Beatles McCartney piece titled "Another Day."
McCartney sings falsetto during part of the bridges. Hugh McCracken's guitar solo between the second bridge and third chorus is played in one piece. The second solo after the final bridge is accompanied by a drum stick on the side of a floor tom.